Starring: Sharon Black
Sharon Black's debut novel immediately made me think of an old Katharine Hepburn/Spencer Tracey movie, "Woman of the Year" and then I read that part of her inspiration came from this wonderful old film! But I'll leave it to Sharon to tell you more. Welcome, and thanks for treading the boards with us today!
1. Are you inspired most by places, people or experiences and how do these work their way into your writing?
I’m definitely inspired most by people and experiences. I’m sure I’m not unique as a writer, when I say that people I know or have met have a way of finding themselves in bits of my characters. It’s not something I do deliberately, but I know it happens. As for experiences, all it takes is for something small to trigger off a plotline or part of a story. Imagination and research takes care of the rest.
2. Please share one of your favourite moments of inspiration with us.
This was actually my inspiration for my debut, Going Against Type. I loved the old Hollywood films starring Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracey, which were shown on TV when I was young. They were all brilliant, but one of my favourite was Woman of the Year. Hepburn plays a high brow pundit, who rubbishes sport in her column. Sports columnist Tracey rushes to attack her, and defend his beloved sport!
It was my light-bulb moment. In my book, I turn the stereotypes upside down. My heroine is a sports columnist, my hero a fashion writer. And I keep up the subterfuge a lot longer, than it was sustained in Woman of the Year.
3. How do you come up with your characters’ names?
My heroine, Charlotte Regan, was so named because Charlotte can be shortened to Charlie. She works in a very male environment, and she’s comfortable with that because she’s a bit of a tomboy. All her colleagues call her Charlie. And Regan is just an Irish name.
Derry Cullinane is my hero. Again, Derry is an Irish name. It’s actually a county in Northern Ireland but it’s also a man’s name. Derry is originally from Cork, and I happen to know that Cullinane is a traditional Cork name.
4. Who would you cast for a movie/TV series as your main characters if given the chance?
I love this question, because I write very visually. So as I was writing this pair, I had two actors in my head the whole time. Derry would have to be played by the English actor Benedict Cumberbatch. And Charlotte would be Reese Witherspoon. But – and this is a big but – their accents would have to be spot on! No stage-Irish accents, please!
5. What is your favourite holiday?
There’s a place my husband and I go to in Northern Spain every summer with our children. It’s quite a small town, which has a good fishing industry. It’s a real town, as opposed to one that has sprung up just for tourism. I love it because I find I can totally relax there. It’s nothing fancy, but the beach is close by, and the town has a communal pool if we want that. And we just chill and potter and read books and enjoy the local food. It’s a total break from everything.
‘I HOPE you like Mexican food,’ said Derry, as they drove from Charlotte’s house into the city centre on Thursday evening.
‘Well, I’d love to try it,’ Charlotte said uncertainly.
‘Maybe another time, so. We’re actually going Greek tonight,’ Derry deadpanned. Charlotte smiled and snuck a glance over at him from the passenger seat of his twelve year old, very beautiful Ferrari. She placed her hands tentatively over her stomach, trying to calm her nerves. She’d spent an hour readying herself, much to Helen’s amusement.
‘Why are you so nervous Charlotte? It’s just a date!’
‘Oh come on, Helen. The last guy I dated was Mr Uptight Conor, and before that I dated sports jocks. Derry is different. He’s Premier League status!’
‘And you’re Scumthorpe United? Take a look at yourself, woman!’
‘I’m not sure what he expects, but I’m not his type, Helen. I’m floundering.’
Helen caught Charlotte’s hands and forced her to meet her gaze.
‘Don’t you dare run yourself down Charlotte Regan. You’re intelligent and totally gorgeous! But you need to do one thing.’
‘Allow yourself to be a woman! How do I put this without you taking it the wrong way? Don’t talk sport all night. You are incredibly bossy when you start. Let Derry take charge a bit. Allow him to be a man!’
‘Sorry, I just time travelled to the 1950s for a moment. What were you saying?’
Some would say Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Regan has it all. Beautiful, smart, athletic and a great job working as a journalist – in the almost exclusively male sports department. But Charlotte is not quite as sure as she seems. Recently split from her overbearing boyfriend, she escapes for weekends, surfing in the Atlantic, and spends her free nights watching sports, roaring at the TV.
Derry Cullinane is a fashion writer, gossip columnist and sophisticated man-about-town. The go-to guy for any woman seeking expert advice on what fabulous outfit to wear for any given occasion. He’s also tall, dark, good looking – and straight! So what’s the snag? He has a track record of dating glamorous, vain and shallow women.
Charlie gets an opportunity to write a new column under the pen name Side Swipe, but is soon drawn into a war of words and wit with a rival paper’s columnist The Squire – and their verbal fireworks get readers and editors talking. Yet neither Charlie nor Derry knows just whom the opponent is...
When Charlotte and Derry meet at the Races, the attraction is instant. As their relationship develops, so much more proves at stake, than protecting their alter egos. But a blunder puts Charlotte’s job in jeopardy just as Derry’s past makes front page, and Charlotte begins to doubt her feelings.
When Side Swipe and The Squire are finally forced to reveal themselves, will they revert to type – or confound everyone’s expectations?
She worked for national newspapers and also had short stories published.
She lives in a coastal village in Dublin with her husband and their three children.
My blog is: sharonblackauthor.blogspot.com
My facebook page is: Sharon Black Author Page
I can be found on Twitter @Authorsharonb